Time for MND to take back all municipal functions from town councils

by Joseph Nathan

Many Singaporeans were enraged by the blunder of the Bukit Batok Town Council that exacerbated the fire incident that led to the untimely death of Madam Goh.

This incident reveals just how the majority of our current elected representatives are lacking in technical expertise and operational experience in estate-management to be effectively managing estate in the first place.

As Town Councils are appointed by the elected MPs, isn’t it ironic that Madam Goh, like other residents in Bukit Batok, had earlier voted to elect Murali Pillai as her MP but only to lose her life due to some mismanagement by him and his appointed Town Council?

While we should leave it to the investigators to determine who should be held culpable for the fire and her death, I personally think that elected representative like Murali should understand that they were elected to firstly help residents improve their lives and to address their socio-economic concerns at national level. As such, it is fair to state that he is definitely guilty of pretending to be sufficiently competent in managing the estate when he is not. The same goes to other elected representatives.

This unfortunate incident should not be allowed to come to pass but should serves as a wakeup call to all elected representatives to stop pretending, come clean and acknowledge their lack of expertise and experience, and they should collectively demand that all municipal services be returned to MND before another untimely incident happens under their watch.

Validating MND’s concerns

Many Singaporeans are also getting tired of hearing endless concerns by the Ministry of National Development (MND) about Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and yet, they have been very silent on this incident. Shouldn’t MND be even more concerned about this incident and acknowledge that the majority of elected representatives lack the expertise to manage their estate and take back these responsibilities before another incident or death?

MND has the technical and organizational expertise to manage the role of Town Council, and if all municipal services are to be managed by MND, it can definitely secure some economic of scale and help reduce our Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC). Wouldn’t it be delightful if MND can demonstrate its estate management competencies and help Singaporeans save on our monthly S&C charges? This will also open up a lot of competency-based employment for many Singaporeans.

There are even more reasons as to why MND should take back all municipal services and free our elected representatives from such mundane works so that they can play their part in improving our socio-economic imbalances.

Time to de-politicise:

In every other functional democracy, voters use their vote to elect representative that they think can serve them and the country best. Unfortunately in Singapore, municipal services have been used to make it harder for an independent candidate or opposition party to be elected. Workers Party is a case in point.

With so many Singaporeans being retrenched and forced to become hire-car drivers, taxi-drivers or even take on delivery or security jobs, can we ever elect representatives from this segment of the population into parliament as long as this political impediment remains?

While the 4G PAP government is delighted about nominating our hawker culture on UNESCO, can any hawker or individual working in the Food and Beverage (F&B) sector be elected into parliament to represent this huge segment of our population if Singaporeans do not help them remove such impediment?

Many Singaporeans have been complaining about how incompetent or out of touch the majority of the current 4G PAP politicians have been. It is precisely because many of these politicians had never had to struggle with a tough day or experience the daily hardship faced by many Singaporeans. Instead, these politicians are afforded with a good life from the PAP.

Logically, why would any of them “rock the boat” and risks losing their golden rice bowl for fellow Singaporeans? Call them selfish or unpatriotic but they are laughing all the way to the bank. If it pays to be mute or absent from parliament, why are patriotic Singaporeans still expecting them to effect some positive change on their behalf?

As such, Singaporeans must really wake up and be realistic. If they want their concerns and plights to be addressed, they have to vote for their fellow Singaporeans who are in their same boat. Being a hired-car driver, taxi-driver, hawker or be in the F&B or logistic sector should be seen as an advantage since many of these individuals know the concerns and plights of their fellow Singaporeans first hand, and also the reasons why so many Singaporeans are being retrenched into these back-breaking jobs in the first place.

It is imperative that some of these individuals be given a fair chance to be voted into parliament. To do so, we need to help them remove this political impediment by asking MND to dismantle this political barrier and take back all municipal service so that all elected representatives can concentrate on serving their residents and help address the current imbalance of our socio-economic policies that are discriminating and disadvantaging Singaporeans.

As 2019 comes to a close, I hope all patriotic Singaporeans will give some thoughts to their fellow Singaporeans and empathize with their concerns and plights. We do have an imbalanced socio-economic policy that is disadvantaging and discriminating against the average Singaporeans. If the current 4G politicians have been competent, patriotic or even remotely concern, many of our pertinent issues and problems would have been solved years ago.

Time for patriotic Singaporeans to be voting for representatives that truly care for the well-being of fellow Singaporeans into parliament as Singapore truly deserves better…

This was first published on Joseph Nathan’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission

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